Jessy Dixon’s influence in gospel music carried through many circles. Often appearing on the “Gaither Homecoming” videos and “Bill Gaither Gospel Hour” television show Dixon sang praises to the Lord.
Dixon died in his Chicago home Monday morning. He was 73. Miriam Dixon said her brother had been sick but declined to provide additional details.
During his career, Jessy Dixon played venues with Paul Simon, played piano with Billy Preston, and played keyboard alongside Earth, Wind, and Fire.
An accomplished songwriter, Dixon wrote over 200 songs including tracks for Diana Ross, Cher, Natalie Cole and Amy Grant.
The Chicago Sun Times interviewed Dixon in 2002.
He believed songs came to him in dreams. “That’s why I usually sleep with a tape recorder in bed,” Dixon said. “Somebody is singing in the dream and it is generally not me.”
Dixon was born in San Antonio, Texas. He moved to Chicago when he was a teen. With musical influences in jazz and soul, it was his gospel singing that stirred his soul. He was inspired to compose by the creativity of Maurice White and blues singer, Willie Dixon (no relation).
Dixon influenced many artists, including Chicago-based Grammy-winning gospel recording artist Donald Lawrence.
“Jessy Dixon was a great influence on me personally,” Lawrence said. “He was a great representative of the city and defined the sound of Chicago gospel and introduced that sound to audiences all over the world. Jessy was the ultimate sophisticated gospel singer-songwriter.”
An impressive career, an accomplished songwriter, a man who loved God, Dixon received his degree for Doctor of Divinity in 2006, from Faith Theological Seminary and Christian College. Dr. Jessy Dixon travelled and performed around the world.
In 1993, “I Am Redeemed” was released. It remained on Billboard’s gospel charts for more than five years.
In March of 2001, the “Count My Blessings Hall Of Fame,” presented Dixon with the Gospel Artist Of The Century Award.
In June 2008, Dixon was inducted into the Christian Music Hall of Fame.
The gospel music world lost a great today. Our loss is heaven’s gain. Dixon had always said gospel was “too-good-to-be-true” news. That’s why people get it confused with religion. Do I have to do this to please God?” He would say, “Well, he’s done it all for you already. And that’s too good to be true!”
A pioneer in blending Black Gospel and contemporary Christian Music, Dixon is described as a “singer with a voice that can bring the sweetest caress to a delicate melody and holler with all the storefront church passion of Black Gospel’s heritage.”
Dixon is survived by a brother and sister. Services are pending.